Volume 60 Number 35 
      Produced: Mon, 12 Sep 2011 15:14:15 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Anonymity (2)
    [Guido Elbogen  Guido Elbogen]
Davening without talis and tefilin (2)
    [Sammy Finkelman  Matthew Pearlman]
Hagbaha before Kriat haTorah 
    [Martin Stern]
Hashem as "King" 
    [Ira Bauman]
l'David H' Ori 
    [Martin Stern]
New Zealand 
    [Eliyahu Shiffman]
Parochet problems 
    [Martin Stern]
Praying Amida from hand-held electronic device 
    [David Ziants]
Shabbat Shalom 
    [Joseph Mosseri]
Shutting the aron 
    [Martin Stern]
Sticklights on shabbat 
    [Ari Trachtenberg]
The Mitzvah of Zro'ah, Lechayayim veKeivah  
    [Joel Rich]
Where will it end? 
    [Martin Stern]


From: Guido Elbogen <havlei.h@...>
Date: Thu, Sep 8,2011 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Anonymity

David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...> wrote (MJ 60#34):

> Anonymity is one of the scourges of the internet.

A nice plethora without any published data to verify
that assumption.

> Anyone can publish his opinion (including things
> that are totally lashon hara and motzi shem ra)
> without taking any responsibility for what he writes.

Does adding a name especially if its a nom de plume
imply a legal responsibility?

> A source for this is the Rabbinic dictum
> "Hamayvi davar beshem omro mayvi
> geulah leolam" (He who brings a quote in
> the  name of he who said it brings salvation
> to the world).

That's a different issue

> I would add how much more so if the one
> you are quoting is yourself!

If the Rabbis would have agreed with that hypothesis
there would have been a mention in the sources.

From: Guido Elbogen <havlei.h@...>
Date: Thu, Sep 8,2011 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Anonymity

Martin Stern <md.stern@...> wrote (60#32):

> I hope that this is very much an isolated case
> and not symptomatic of anything more general.
> The worst that has happened to me was that
> I was chucked out of my shul and guards were
> put at the door to stop me entering.The trouble
> is that if we do not confront these bullies they
> will only progress to worse things.

Democracy only entitles the citizen the right to
vote unharrassed. There is no democratic right
to voice opinions or commit acts that are breaches
of the peace.

Expulsion of a worker, student or congregant for
non-compatible behavior is a legal procedure
and not to be identified with bullying.


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 6,2011 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Davening without talis and tefilin

Stuart Wise wrote (MJ 60#33):

> Today in shul there was a short debate over whether we should wait
> to put on tefillin two minutes at Boruch She'amar (nusach sefard) or go
> straight through the zman and put them on before yishtabach. The person in
> charge of the minyan said the latter but one person complained and said we
> should wait the two minutes. Then he made a curious statement when he met
> resistance: OK, the sin will be on your head (presumably for people not putting
> on tefilin at the moment it is permitted).

> I wouldn't dare start up with this hot headed guy, but is there a sin for
> doing as he suggests?

I would interpret what he said as meaning that if there is a sin,
it'll be yours. It shouldn't bother you, but maybe could bother some
other people, so it would be worth it getting the Rabbi of that shul
to straighten this out.

There's no sin here.  The only problem I could see, maybe, is making a
brachah levatalah. It's well known that tefillin can be put on early. I
don't know when a brachah should be made. The other problem could be
taking them off too soon so that they are not on during the day.

The Mitzvah of tefillin is separate from that of saying Krias Shemah
which is separate in turn from that of learning Torah in the first
third of the day, which, in turn, is separate from making brachahs early
in the day.

Tefillin is applicable all day. The proof: We postpone this on Tisha
B'av. I think a good question could be if, from the Torah, if it is
necessary every weekday. If not, the Lubavicher Chassidim are really
right in trying to get Jews to put on tefillin at least once. The
exceptions seem to be days on which the whole day is a sign of a
connection or devotion to Hashem or something.

Learning Torah - to accomplish this we make a brachah on the Torah and
say 3 small posukim about Bircas Kohanim and also Ailu Devorim.

The Sefer HaMitvos of the Rambam says also that the verse Shema - that
verse alone - is something that should be said in the first third of
the day.

The rest Krias Shema is simply learning Torah  (Abaye in the Gemorah
Berachos) during the first third of the day.

I was told once there is a machlokes in the gemorah but actually it
makes sense that in the first case (earlier in the mesechta) we are
talking about people who said Bircas HaTorah and Bircas Cohanim and in
the second case people who did not.

The Rabbis of course established much more than the bare minimum and
they tried to establish ways not to fail to accomplish some important
Mitzvos. But this becomes important when things are not going as

From: Matthew Pearlman <Matthew.Pearlman@...>
Date: Wed, Sep 7,2011 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Davening without talis and tefilin

Stuart Wise wrote (MJ 60#33):
> Today in shul there was a short debate over whether we should wait
> to put on tefillin two minutes at Boruch She'amar (nusach sefard) or go
> straight through the zman and put them on before yishtabach.

Without commenting on the shul politics, my understanding is that it is
incorrect to put on tallis/tefillin before yishtabach, but they should
be put on after yishtabach (before kaddish) - see Shulchan Aruch OC 53:3
and Mishna Berurah thereon.

If someone wants to put them on at exactly the "correct time" then they
can also do so between the chapters of pesukei deZimra.



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, Sep 9,2011 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Hagbaha before Kriat haTorah

David Ziants <dziants@...> wrote (MJ 60#34):

> a) Hagbaa before K. haTora is an aidot hamizrach thing although I have
> seen chassidim do it as well. With all the Ashkenazi shuls here, they do
> it afterwards.

I have always thought the Sefardi custom of showing the Sefer Torah before
reading from it makes more sense than doing it afterwards. I wonder what is
the reason for the Ashkenazi custom.

Martin Stern


From: Ira Bauman <irabauman1@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 11,2011 at 12:01 AM
Subject: Hashem as "King"

In preparation for Rosh Hashana, I would like to see if any person can shed
some light on these problems I have with the Rosh Hashana liturgy.
A major theme on RH is the "coronation " of Hashem as king.  Is king the
best we can do?  Is it even appropriate?  I understand that the Torah is
replete with anthropomorphic comments to allow us a better understanding of
Hashem.  When I think of a monarch I can think of a beneficent figurehead
such as Queen Elizabeth.  Or I can think of a leader with actual powers of
life and death over his subjects, like Idi Amin.  Even if one can cite a
modern leader who has power and is beneficent to his people would that be a
proper comparison to our Creator?  He is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient
and transcendent.  How do we deal with such an inadequate comparison?
Our rabbis tell us that our world was created and we, the Chosen People,
should work towards the goal of the universal acceptance of Hashem as our
king.  We introduce our tefillos with shvach, praise to Hashem.  Hashem
demands our recognition and praise, punishes Chillul Hashem and rewards
Kiddush Hashem.  He is Keyl Kano V'Nokaym.

In the past few years we have seen examples of Gaddafi's cult of
personality, Saddam Hussein's statues in public squares, the leader of North
Korea's imposition of his picture in every public and private place and many
other such displays of ego.  We respond appropriately with disgust. The
leaders whom we truly admire, such as Lincoln or Gandhi never indulged in
that behavior.  Perhaps it is bad enough to compare Hashem to a king, but
the qualities we attribute to Him seem to compare him to the wrong leaders.
I understand that my points may seem heretical but I would honestly like to
see an approach that would address these concerns and allow me to conduct my
tefillos with the utmost sincerity.

Ira Bauman


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, Sep 9,2011 at 11:01 AM
Subject: l'David H' Ori

David Ziants <dziants@...> wrote (MJ 60#34):

> Similarly l'David H' Ori in Elul being said either at mincha or arvit
> has to be fixed for the community despite who the sha"tz is, otherwise
> some days it might be said at both and some days not at all in one of these
> two services.

Why would this be so terrible? The custom of saying l'David H' Ori is
relatively recent and was not accepted everywhere. In particular, many
communities in Germany did not say it at all and this would seem to have
been the original custom in England since it was not included in the earlier
editions of the Authorised Prayer Book (Singer's). As for 'losing' the
opportunity to say kaddish after it, the question should be reversed and be
whether saying that kaddish might itself be a case of marbeh bekaddeishim
[saying unnecessary extra kaddeishim].

Martin Stern


From: Eliyahu Shiffman <eliyahu.shiffman@...>
Date: Wed, Sep 7,2011 at 05:01 AM
Subject: New Zealand

Further to David Ziants' question (MJ 60#34) about the day on which Shabbat is observed in New Zealand, 
in light of date-line issues: is there *any* country in which a significant percentage of mitzva-observant 
Jews observes a day other than Saturday as Shabbat? My guess is that, after all the discussion is said and 
done, Saturday is Shabbat everywhere and a halachic argument is inevitably found to support that.

Eliyahu Shiffman
Zichron Yaakov, Israel


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 11,2011 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Parochet problems

It seems customary in many shuls to give a visitor hotsa'ah vehachnassah
[the honour of taking out and returning the Sefer Torah]. However, each shul
has a different way of opening the parochet: some having a draw string at
each side, some have both on one side and yet others have none at all and
one is expected to simply pull it open by hand (also some open to the right
and others to the left).

For someone who has never been to that particular shul previously (or has
only been there occasionally and not paid great attention to how the
parochet was opened) this can be very embarrassing as he tries to determine
just how to get it open. Surely it would be a good idea if the gabbai would go
up with him and indicate exactly what to do, as I have seen occasionally but
unfortunately this does not seem to be the custom in most places.  Perhaps those
in charge should make a point of introducing this procedure to avoid the problem
of being malbin pnei chaveiro berabbim [causing embarrassment].

Martin Stern


From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 11,2011 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Praying Amida from hand-held electronic device

Over the last few years I have been seeing people, especially in ad-hoc 
minyan situations, praying weekday mincha or arvit from an electronic 
hand-held device (e.g. an ipod) rather than a conventionally siddur.

I did not think of anything that could possibly be wrong with this - 
unless the battery is likely to go dead in the middle of the Amida.

Over Shabbat, I read an article in Techumin by a person called Avraham 
Lipshitz (Vol 30 towards the end - I am afraid I do not have the page 
number as this was in shul), that quotes a Gemarra and Rishonim [early 
medieval Rabbinic scholars] primarily Rashi, and basically comes out 
against this. I am not good at remembering details, but here are the 
basic arguments that were mentioned:-

a) The Gemarra says we do not pray with a Sepher Tora, Tephillin, a 
kikar keseph (heavy valuable silver coin) and a container (that is 
likely to spill I think) in one's hand. This is because one's mind will be 
on these objects that they do not fall/get damaged, and will not 
concentrate on one's prayer - to such an extent that one should pray 
again.  I cannot remember how much of the previous sentence is 
from the Gemarra or if any of this comes from Rishonim.

b) Also, with a Sepher Torah, one might start learning from it instead 
of praying and thus one's prayer is distracted.

c) Holding a siddur [prayer book] is OK as one needs this for praying.

d) Holding a Lulav on Sukkot is allowed, because - even though it is 
delicate - the love of the mitzva will not distract one from praying.

He uses these arguments to conclude against using a hand-held device because:-

a) it is expensive and delicate; 

b) one could start looking at emails and SMSs while praying; 

c) people who see might think that one is not praying but doing business etc.

(The last point reminded me of the advice I received as a young boy in 
the 70's in the UK that if one is on the street  and it is getting late 
especially in the winter and one has not davened mincha - one should go 
into a phone booth - which in those days in the UK were closable with a 
door and say mincha there.)

At the end of the article, Rav Yisrael Rozen - who is the head of the 
Zomet organization - which publishes Techumin - gave his opinion in a 
few lines which dismisses the above, saying that there is no difference 
from praying from an expensive siddur (which one also does not want to 
drop) or a combined siddur/chumash (with which one can also be distracted by
looking at the chumash).

I wrote all the above from memory and so I hope I did not misquote anyone 
in the above.

I discussed this briefly with someone in shul afterwards and there is 
also the issue that these devices are becoming cheaper as well, because people 
are less worried about damage since the cell-phone companies often insure 
these phones or give them away to their committed customers as freebies 
(and just charge for the insurance).

I am interested in knowing what contemporary poskim (that allow 
cellphones and Internet) say on this issue.

David Ziants,

Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel


From: Joseph Mosseri <joseph.mosseri@...>
Date: Thu, Sep 8,2011 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Shabbat Shalom

Growing up most people only said Shabbat Shalom on Shabbat.
Some would also say it on Friday when shopping for Shabbat.

Nowadays people start saying it from Wednesday morning.
When and where did this start?



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 11,2011 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Shutting the aron

Over the years, I have noticed that there seem to be two customs among
Ashkenazim (including Nusach Sfard but as opposed to Eidot Hamizrach with
which I am not particularly familiar) regarding shutting the aron [ark]
after taking out the Sefer Torah:

1) it should be shut immediately,

2) it should remain open until the shats descends to take the Sefer Torah to
the bima.

In some congregations, people get quite upset when the 'wrong' one is

While I can understand that the first may be done to avoid turning one's
back on the Sifrei Torah remaining there (though this is not really a
problem since the aron is considered as being a separate 'room'), this can
be avoided by standing sideways facing neither the aron nor the congregation
directly, as I have seen done in some shuls.

There also seems to be a custom for the shats to turn to the aron and bow when
saying "Gadlu ..." which might make sense under the second scenario, where
the Sefer Torah being taken out 'pays' its respects to those remaining, but
seems incomprehensible under the first.

Can anyone shed light on these matters?

Martin Stern


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 11,2011 at 12:01 AM
Subject: Sticklights on shabbat

Rabbi Nachum Eliezer Rabinovich seems to suggest that there is no
issue using "sticklights" (sticks with chemicals within them that mix
when the stick is bent so as to produce light) on Shabbat:


I'm interested in other opinions (either supporting or refuting)
from the rabbinic literature.



From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 6,2011 at 07:01 PM
Subject: The Mitzvah of Zro'ah, Lechayayim veKeivah 

David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...> wrote (MJ 60#34):

> In last weeks parasha (Shoftim Dev.18:3) the Torah commands us,whenever we slaughter cattle or sheep 
> we must give three cuts of meat, zro'ah, lechayayim, keivah (the shoulder, cheeks and maw)  to a Kohen. 
> I call this one of the "mitzvot yetomot"(orphan mitzvot). Why "orphan"? Even though all of the early 
> poskim who made lists of the 613 Torah commandments (Rambam, SMaG, Chinuch) all include it as one
> of the 613, almost no one observes it!

R' H Schachter in this week's parsha shiur also points out the strange practice of ignoring this mitzvah. 
Some defended the practice on the basis of we have kohanei chazakah but not myuchasim, but if this were 
the reason, why do we say a bracha at a pidyon habein?

Joel Rich


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, Sep 9,2011 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Where will it end?

Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...> wrote (MJ 60#34):

> I just noticed that the air freshener we are using in our bathroom is
> marked as "Kasher LiMehardin." Honestly, I had no intention of eating it ...

As far as I can see, this is just a marketing gimmick that preys on people's
subconscious worry that if something has a hechsher then there must be
something wrong with the other brands. I fear this brings kashrut into
disrepute but can one really blame the rav hamachshir for taking a fee to
certify something about which there is no suspicion - he does not even need
to employ a full time mashgiach so the money received is almost entirely profit.

Martin Stern


End of Volume 60 Issue 35